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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 December 2021) . . Page.. 4000 ..

everything we have been through, we are doing pretty good. I feel stronger than I have felt in many years—stronger physically, mentally and emotionally.

My simple message for those who are struggling is, first, hang in there. It does get better; I promise. Second, it is okay to need help. Choose not to struggle alone; reach out to someone that you trust. It is my great desire that we will all do better in taking care of one another. It is my deepest desire that, as 2021 draws to a close, the future will be brighter for all of us.

Lastly, I want to thank my incredible staff—Sylvia Wang, Brett Baker and Joseph Stubbs—for their loyalty, their diligence, their wisdom and their friendship. And I would like to wish one of them, Brett Baker, a great happy birthday today.


MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (5.01): Almost a year to the day, I rose to give my first speech in this chamber, reflecting on the journey that had led me here and the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead. At the time we knew, as a community, that we had faced some pretty significant obstacles but had hopes that 2021 would be less interesting than 2020. We all know how that turned out.

2021 has been an incredible year. It has been framed by the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. While a global pandemic, it has been a challenge with significant local impacts. Our geography, community structure, economic conditions and the decisions that we have made as a government have seen us navigate through an incredibly difficult time and set of circumstances stronger, compassionate and resilient.

While our challenges are far from over, I cannot express deeply enough how grateful I am to be part of the community that I am part of. I want to pay tribute to the public health officials and public servants who have supported this government’s very difficult decisions to keep our community safe and well.

When faced with very difficult decisions, often the least worst decision, we had access to the best information day after day, week after week. I would challenge anyone who questions the value of our local public service, who have performed with professionalism, dedication, commitment, often good humour, in the most challenging of circumstances. Thank you for everything you have done.

I have the privilege in my portfolio areas to work across three different directorates. I am very aware of the challenges that are faced by some of our senior officials, who need to balance the priorities, personalities and preferences of three, four, sometimes even five ministers, and I continue to be so impressed by the way this is managed. We have a small public service that is spread across both municipal and state responsibilities. This requires creativity, adaptability, flexibility and care. Thank you for your advice and support as we deliver our commitments to the community.

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